Picture fine-dining establishments, a chic marina fashioned after Italian ports, and extravagant villas. Now imagine three 18-hole golf courses perched just off the coast of the Dominican Republic, and you’ve only begun to envision this all-inclusive luxury resort.
Casa de Campo is a 7,000-acre resort and residential community in La Romana, a city 130 miles southeast of the capital city, Santo Domingo. A tollbooth-style security entrance and a private airport make it clear that Casa de Campo is no ordinary gated community. Our driver had to surrender his license at the gate before he could proceed to the resort’s reception area. Thirteen tennis courts, a private beach, designer boutiques, sailing day-trips to nearby Catalina Island, and all the amenities you’d expect of a luxury resort leave little time for experiencing the other features this dreamy tropical playground offers.
Casa de Campo’s Shooting Centre offers clay, trap, and skeet shooting. The tallest station projects clay 45 yards into the sky. The equestrian facility has five fields and 80 trained polo ponies. It offers riding and jumping instructions and hosts polo matches from November to April. For golfers, three 18-hole golf courses designed by renowned architect Pete Dye, are the property’s real gem. Teeth of the Dog, which was completely renovated last year, has seven holes skirting the ocean and ranks No. 17 on Golf Digest’s list of top 100 courses in the world; the Links is a hilly inland course where five holes tangle with lagoons and lakes; and the new Dye Fore course, positioned 300 feet atop the ChavÃ³n River bluffs, is a golf lover’s dream. Its layout attracts pro golfers who shell out $93 to $203 per person, per round. Marlon D. Cousins, managing partner of The Marquin Group, an executive recruiting firm based in Atlanta, is among a group of black executives who golf yearly at Casa de Campo because of its reputation. “The Teeth of the Dog is the most challenging, as it plays along the water — seven holes directly on the Caribbean. It offers one of the best par-threes.”
Club villas accommodate four to 12 guests at $840 to $2,445 per night, per villa ($577 to $1,345 off-season). Maid and butler service, made-to-order breakfast prepared in your villa, a pool or whirlpool, concierge service for sporting or dining reservations, and transportation to and from the private airport are all included.
If you ever leave the resort, explore the cobblestone walkways of Altos de ChavÃ³n — a replica of a 16th-century Mediterranean village overlooking the ChavÃ³n River. Altos de ChavÃ³n is home to a 5,000-seat Grecian-style amphitheater that has hosted Dizzy Gillespie and Gloria Estefan, among others. The Regional Museum of Archaeology, which houses a collection of pre-Columbian artifacts, also calls the village home. A community of working artists, Altos de ChavÃ³n has lots to see. Visit art galleries and studios where artists produce ceramic and silk-screened crafts.
To refuel, choose from vegetarian and heart-healthy menu selections available at most of the restaurants. El Sombrero, La Piazzetta, and CafÃ© del Sol are